Recent Trends of Marriage in Iran

Akbar Aghajanian, Fayetteville State University


Background: In Iran, historically, establishing, maintaining, and continuing family units have been perpetuated through the development of strong ideals about marriage and reproduction that are integrated with Islamic values. Despite the long tradition of marriage as the foundation of both family and society, the data show there are declines in both the rate and the number of marriages. The popular belief among both laymen and social scientists is that, while there has been a decline in permanent marriages, there has been an increase in the number of what can be called temporary marriages. There are no data demonstrating trends in these marriages.

Methods: In this paper, we present data on the declining trend in marriage and review the literature on factors considered as a barrier toward marriage. In addition, we examine data from a snowball sample of couples involved in temporary marriages or Sighe.

Results: Our analysis suggests that those in such marriages may generally ignore or defy cultural prescriptions and proscriptions about marriage, seemingly reflecting a more modernistic view.

Conclusion: From this perspective, we suggest that both recorded and non-recorded temporary marriages may reflect changing attitudes that stress individualism, autonomy, and secularism and, particularly for the young who are engaged in Sighe, the postponing of parenthood and, indeed, of adulthood.